Lang Boxes
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Thread: Lang Boxes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Wahiawa Heights Hawaii
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    Default Lang Boxes

    Hi everyone,
    I have a question about building beehives. One of the people I work with has a large cabinet shop. I just filled my pick up truck with 4 loads of Poplar, Mahogany, Cedar, Oak, and some other exotic hardwoods. Does anyone know of any woods that would be toxic to bees? I also have some cabinet grade unfinished hardwood plywood. The plywood has been treated with a non-toxic soy based product for termites. The product is not poison but it makes the wood so the termites don't like the taste I guess. Okay for bees? I was planning on using the ply for top and bottom boards and the hardwood for hive bodies. I have enough free wood for about 50-60 hives. Any advice would be appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    I can't answer all your questions. I cut my own logs and let the wood air dry. We mostly only have hard woods. I can't tell my trees apart very well. I know I have used red oak, white oak and hickory. I am in my second year and so far no dead hives. If the wood has some ill effects which I doubt, it does not kill them. The hives made with hard wood are heavier.
    Good luck
    gww
    zone 5b

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    20

    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    We use poplar for all of our boxes, and the bees are doing great. When you build the equipment, think about the end use, and don't mix species on the same piece of equipment. Different types of wood move differently, and that could pose an issue.

    If I were in your shoes, I would avoid the plywood on the bottom boards, and use the cedar. Bottom boards get wet and muddy. Cedar is more rot resistant than the plywood.
    Robbie

  5. #4
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    Feb 2015
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    Wahiawa Heights Hawaii
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Armstrong and Family View Post
    We use poplar for all of our boxes, and the bees are doing great. When you build the equipment, think about the end use, and don't mix species on the same piece of equipment. Different types of wood move differently, and that could pose an issue.

    If I were in your shoes, I would avoid the plywood on the bottom boards, and use the cedar. Bottom boards get wet and muddy. Cedar is more rot resistant than the plywood.
    Robbie
    Thanks Robbie
    As far as the plywood goes I have quite a bit, hate to see it go to waste. This is not your average ply; all hardwood-oak, maple, etc. Averages about $80 a sheet...

  6. #5
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    Feb 2015
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    Wahiawa Heights Hawaii
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    I can't answer all your questions. I cut my own logs and let the wood air dry. We mostly only have hard woods. I can't tell my trees apart very well. I know I have used red oak, white oak and hickory. I am in my second year and so far no dead hives. If the wood has some ill effects which I doubt, it does not kill them. The hives made with hard wood are heavier.
    Good luck
    gww
    Thanks, I have actually switched to all mediums. Makes things a little easier.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    Not sure if you're using western cedar or eastern (aromatic) cedar, but I know some folks who build hives out of eastern cedar and claim their mite loads are less in those hives. Oak and mahogany are super heavy- something to consider if you're going to be stacking boxes.

  8. #7
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    Feb 2015
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    Wahiawa Heights Hawaii
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    Thanks Chris, I know how heavy the oak and mahogany is- loaded up 4 trucks full of it and my back is killing me. Have lots of poplar too. I might end up making ukuleles out of the mahogany, coffee table or something out of the oak...

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    17

    Default

    I would steer clear of the plywood. Any cabinet grade plywood I have seen has adhesive meant for interior applications. Even painted it will delaminate within a few months. I believe any of the hardwoods will be ok as long as you don't mind the extra weight, it wouldn't bother me if it was free.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Morgan County, Alabama,USA
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    21

    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    I've used oak veneer cabinet grade 3/4in. plywood (that i got for free), that i'm using for migratory tops. Some is 5 ply and some is 9 ply. I first seal the edges with wood glue , then when dry I paint both sides and edges with primer and then with 2 top coats. I've got some that have been in use for 18 mos. and they still look as good as when i made them . I've had zero warp occur. I also use regular exterior grade 1/2 in. plywood under my oil trays under my screened bottom boards, using the same glue/paint procedure.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    I have used every peice of plywood I could find. My view is that I got most of it from other projects and it doesn't take that long to put a top or bottom together and so it doesn't matter to me how long they last cause I only have time in them and no money and I have more time then money. I have been very surprized on how long some stuff has lasted that I thought wouldn't. I have traps out all year long made with cheap chip board that is still doing good sitting out in the wether going on three years.

    I have had a few things go bad really quick that surprized me, like reclaimed pine that I made traps with and put cleets on for handles. They were all ready rotting where water sit on the cleets. I would figure on 60 hives that stuff going bad could become a full time job but on the other hand, having bees in sixty hives gives a lot of income producing opertunity to upgrade after you get them established. It would have to help tremedously being able to build up with really low cost.
    Just my thoughts.
    gww
    zone 5b

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    If you cut your cleats so the the top and bottom surface of the cleats are sloped away from the hive, then the rainwater won't sit on the cleat.

    I first got that idea from one of ODFrank's photos with 'full length' cleats, but since the Photobucket debacle those photos are no longer visible. But here is a similar -although shorter- cleat:
    cleat_angled.jpg

    Here is the thread that photo came from, although Photobucket may block the images: https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ngstroth-Build
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #12
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    Feb 2015
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    Rader
    Thank you for the link. I actually figured that out when it was on the inch conversion plan that I used to build my warre. I then put the same on some cedar chests that I built for my wife and kids. The ones that rotted were the very first things I built before actually getting bees. I am getting a little better at it.
    I always thank you for your many tips given to help me.
    Thanks
    gww
    zone 5b

  14. #13
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    I would use the plywood for interior projects like bookcases and shelving. Poplar is the best choice of the hardwoods for the hives because it is the lightest. Get good at making them, then make some show hives from the cedar. Sell the mahogany and oak, unless you were serious about the ukuleles.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  15. #14
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    Feb 2015
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    Wahiawa Heights Hawaii
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I would use the plywood for interior projects like bookcases and shelving. Poplar is the best choice of the hardwoods for the hives because it is the lightest. Get good at making them, then make some show hives from the cedar. Sell the mahogany and oak, unless you were serious about the ukuleles.
    I was thinking oak for coffee tables. I guess I am doing ok at making boxes. I have 14 hives, made them all, but out of fir or pine. I have seen a few people here making 'high end' bee hives out of exotic hardwoods. Look more like furniture than hives. I was asking to see if anyone here had any toxicity issues as far as different types of wood. As far as the ukuleles I have in the past taught ukulele building classes and I have all the jigs.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    frederick, md
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    840

    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    If you cut your cleats so the the top and bottom surface of the cleats are sloped away from the hive, then the rainwater won't sit on the cleat.

    I first got that idea from one of ODFrank's photos with 'full length' cleats, but since the Photobucket debacle those photos are no longer visible. But here is a similar -although shorter- cleat:
    cleat_angled.jpg

    Here is the thread that photo came from, although Photobucket may block the images: https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ngstroth-Build
    I put handles on all of our hive boxes, my fingers just can't lift them with that tiny grip. Called ageing hands.
    I used the treated 2x2's from lowes, glued and screwed them on, then took some silicone and ran a bead along the box and handle. Some have been on for years, no indication of damage from water collecting.
    Put them just on the narrow ends, we did have them on the long sides but found them to be in the way with the spacing of our some of our hives. My husband and I lift the boxes together. Makes it so much easier esp the honey supers.
    Capture.jpg
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  17. #16
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    Feb 2015
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    Rosebud Missouri
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    limu
    Here is a picture of something I was making for my daughter with some wood. This is before I put the drawer face plates on. This kind of stuff is too heavy in my opinion and my attention span does not allow for intricate work. I am back to good bee boxes with my oak cause I can be sloppy and they still work good.
    Coffee table.jpg
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  18. #17
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    From Beekeeping for Dummies:

    WOODS TO BE WARY OF FOR BEEHIVES
    "Some beekeepers talk about woods that may be toxic to bees and therefore shouldn’t be used to make hives. Black walnut might be one such wood. It’s hard to find any hard evidence of a natural wood that has been proven toxic to honeybees.

    However, the sawdust created when working with some woods can be toxic or allergenic to the woodworker (examples are black walnut, mahogany, and cedar). But there’s no evidence that these or other woods are problematic to the bees. Chances are that any of the woods you can get your hands on are okay for making hives and equipment."
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Wahiawa Heights Hawaii
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    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    From Beekeeping for Dummies:

    WOODS TO BE WARY OF FOR BEEHIVES
    "Some beekeepers talk about woods that may be toxic to bees and therefore shouldn’t be used to make hives. Black walnut might be one such wood. It’s hard to find any hard evidence of a natural wood that has been proven toxic to honeybees.

    However, the sawdust created when working with some woods can be toxic or allergenic to the woodworker (examples are black walnut, mahogany, and cedar). But there’s no evidence that these or other woods are problematic to the bees. Chances are that any of the woods you can get your hands on are okay for making hives and equipment."
    Thanks. This is exactly the info I was after...

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Tallapoosa, Georgia, USA
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    637

    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    I have used the hardwood veneered plywood for tops and bottoms since I got some free. Lesson learned in my case... It delaminates easily with a good coat of oil based primer and then a top coat of oil based paint. I tired it on migratory tops. The only way that I would use it today would be for telescoping tops where I would be covering the entire piece of plywood with aluminum.
    Working to propagate my survivors and staying treatment free USDA Zone 7b

  21. #20
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    6,834

    Default Re: Lang Boxes

    Slopped handles.





    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    If you cut your cleats so the the top and bottom surface of the cleats are sloped away from the hive, then the rainwater won't sit on the cleat.

    I first got that idea from one of ODFrank's photos with 'full length' cleats, but since the Photobucket debacle those photos are no longer visible. But here is a similar -although shorter- cleat:
    cleat_angled.jpg

    Here is the thread that photo came from, although Photobucket may block the images: https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ngstroth-Build

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